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GIRLS’ DISTRICT BASKETBALL: Lazarek, Allen Park throttle Edsel Ford to move on in districts (PHOTO GALLERY)

  • Hailey Lazarek finished with 21 points in Allen Park's 60-33 win over Edsel Ford in Monday's district opener. Photos by Larry Caruso
The Allen Park Lady Jaguars took the fight to the Edsel Ford girls’ basketball team on Monday night, effectively burying the Thunderbirds before they even knew what hit them.



Hailey Lazarek scored 22 points in front of the Allen Park home crowd to lead her team to a 60-33 win. Lazarek threw her body around in the lane and got to the free throw line at will, where she knocked down six free throws in the game.



“That’s (Hailey’s) strong suit, getting to the rim,” said Jaguars Coach Chuck Perez. “Even though she’s not the biggest girl she’s not afraid to get to the rim. She played very aggressively tonight and really sparked the offense.”



By trapping Edsel Ford on defense and forcing their way to the charity stripe on offense, the Jags built a 16-point lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.



Thunderbirds Coach Janet Smith said Allen Park’s fast start really shook her team up in the early going.



“We have trouble scoring as is, so being down by that many, that early, makes the game that much more difficult for us,” Smith said. “So they did do a nice job of taking the ball to the basket. We did start out man to man, which we hadn’t done much, just to mix it up a bit, but they handled it very well.”



The Jaguars were up by 20 by halftime, 33-13, but Lazarek and fellow senior Casey Bowdell refused to let up in the third quarter.



Lazarek scored 10 of her 22 points in the third by continuing to crash the lane, while Bowdell kept the Thunderbirds’ defense off balance by shooting lights out from the perimeter. Bowdell hit four 3-pointers in the game, two of which came early in the third quarter.



Edsel Ford fought hard in the second half and got into a bit of an offensive rhythm, at least more so than they did in the first half, especially Kennedy Rankin, who scored eight points in the second half to lead her team.



However the Jags played too complete of a basketball game and did not allow the Thunderbirds to even sniff a comeback.



Allen Park won the rebounding war 22-14 in the second half and 37-22 overall in the game. Lisa Marsh played well in that area, pulling down eight rebounds in the contest, all of which came in the first half.



Lazarek’s 22 points were tops among all scorers. Bowdell scored 12 and Erin Fish added 11.



The loss drops the Thunderbirds’ final season record to 9-12. Coach Smith said she is looking forward to getting the majority of her team back next year.



“We were young, but at the same time we’re only losing two seniors,” she said. “We’re looking forward to getting them together and developing that chemistry over the summer.”



Allen Park will move on to face Crestwood on Wednesday night and will once again play in front of their home fans. Coach Perez said he hopes to cut down on some mistakes heading into Wednesday’s semifinal game.



“I think we had a little bit too many turnovers,” Perez said. “So we want to take care of the ball a little better than we did tonight or else Crestwood will really make us pay. It should be interesting.”



Last Updated: 2/24/2014 11:42:02 PM EST

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